ELKTON — An investigation is continuing after a blaze destroyed a makeshift shelter in what investigators described as a “homeless encampment” in the woods near Elkon, according to the Maryland Office of the State Fire Marshal.
A passerby called 911 at approximately 5:50 a.m. Monday, after noticing the burning structure in a wooded area adjacent to the Twin Bridges on West Pulaski Highway (Route 40), fire officials said. A crew of seven firefighters with Singerly Volunteer Fire Co. of Elkton battled the blaze for about 30 minutes, before bringing it under control, fire officials added.
The fire caused an estimated $25 in damage to the 10-by-15-foot structure, according to Sr. Deputy State Fire Marshal Oliver J. Alkire.
“It was a makeshift shelter of some sort. We know it was wood-framed, but we’re not sure what it was covered with because of the fire damage. We don’t know who was living there or how many people were living there. We know people had been living in it recently, because of the amount of trash and debris in that area,” Alkire told the Cecil Whig.
As of late Monday afternoon, the cause and point of origin of the blaze remained under investigation.
“We found what appeared to be a makeshift wood stove in that area. It was a trash barrel with various pipes. Right now, we can’t rule that out as a possible cause,” Alkire said, noting that investigators have found no one who was in the wooded area at the time of the fire.
Anyone with information that might help in this investigation is asked to call the Maryland Office of the State Fire Marshal at 410-836-4844. Moreover, MOSFM officials also are asking anyone familiar with the makeshift shelter to call, according to Alkire, explaining, “If someone knows what the structure was constructed of, that would assist us.”